Epsilon Advanced Materials (EAM), which has big plans for getting into the manufacture of electrode materials for batteries and is investing $650 million to build a plant in the US, expects not only to sign a firm offtake agreement with a buyer in a couple of months, but also secure funding for the project from the US buyer. 

EAM, a subsidiary of Epsilon Carbon Pvt Ltd, has announced it would invest ₹9,000 crore in making anode material (graphite) and ₹5,000 crore in cathode material (lithium ferrous phosphate). The anode material will be produced in Karnataka, while the location of the cathode plant has yet to be decided. 

Apart from this, the company has also announced it would build a $650-m, 50,000 TPA anode plant in North Carolina, USA. This investment was mentioned in the joint declaration by the US and India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in July 2023. 

In a recent conversation with businessline, Vikram Handa, Managing Director of Epsilon Carbon, said that the US plant was likely to be partly funded by the graphite buyer(s). A firm off-taker agreement, which will underwrite the entire production for a specified number of years, is expected to be signed in a few months. 

Artificial graphite 

Handa said that the company had proprietary technology to produce graphite (“artificial graphite”) from coal tar, which Epsilon Carbon manufactures from coal tar pitch that it gets from the Vijayanagar steel plant of JSW Steel Ltd, Ballari, Karnataka. (Incidentally, Handa is a son-in-law of Sajjan Jindal, Chairman of the JSW Steel.) This technology allows for faster charging. (It relates to the arrangement of carbon atoms in graphite—the roomier the arrangement, the quicker lithium-ions embed themselves inside the graphite, which is what ‘charging’ is.) 

In the first phase, EAM will build in Karnataka 30,000 TPA of capacity by 2026, which will then be increased to 100,000 TPA by 2030. 


As for cathode, EAM  completed the acquisition of a German technology centre from the British chemicals company Johnson Matthey in February. With the acquisition came 150 IPs, Handa said. Armed with this technology, EAM is getting into the manufacture of LFP cathodes for batteries, which are regarded as better in many respects than the conventional lithium-ion batteries of Lithium-Manganese-Nickel-Cobalt chemistry. 

Currently, the capacity to produce 2,500 TPA of LFP has been established at the German R&D plant. In India, the company will first invest ₹700 crore to produce 10,000 TPA, which will be raised to 100,000 by 2030.  

Answering  a question, Handa said both EAM and Epsilon Carbon would come out with IPOs “eventually”.  With both anode and cathode under its belt, EAM expects to become a major player in the battery materials supply chain. Handa argued that Indian battery manufacturers, who get government subsidies from the ACC PLI scheme, do not buy from Indian battery materials manufacturers, preferring to buy cheaper materials from China. Battery materials supply chain is just about evolving in India and needs to be supported, he said, calling upon the government to enforce the rule that those who avail themselves of government subsidies should buy local materials up to a certain value.